I was tracing the moles on his skin with my fingernails while he slept. They were like the Milky Way, scattered and infinite. On his right bicep: the Big Dipper, his left forearm: Orion’s Belt. The sun had melted away hours ago, long before he came knocking on my door. This was our routine, only after my son goes to bed.

“Age doesn’t matter, it’s just a number,” he tells me.

We could fill a sticky note of what we share in common. I feel the years between us every time I haul the groceries up the stairs by myself, the loads of laundry I carry are like a dozen toddlers straining for my attention. My very routine of living reminds me why we can’t be together, except the way he kisses me like it was the last time, and it always could be.

Connecting his dotted Milky Way, I am reminded of my freshman year Astronomy class in college. I gaped up into the sky, my professor whispering as if the universe were sleeping, Every star dies in a different way. I imagined supernovae giving birth to terrific explosions – outshining entire galaxies. Every fated star is awarded a spectacular death.

He is talking in his sleep, something about donuts and Vonnegut. The sun is starting to slant through the blinds and cutting him into pieces of light, then dark. Soon the room will be brilliantly lit – waking him – and I think, Don’t stop talking, don’t stop.

Hillary Leftwich is a native of Colorado and currently lives in Denver with her son. In her day jobs, she has worked as a private investigator, maid, and pinup model. Her writing appeared recently in NANO Fiction, Monkeybicycle, DOGZPLOT, and One Sentence Love Stories with Meg Pokrass. Her flash fiction story, “Free Lunch,” is forthcoming in Progenitor and was also nominated for The Pushcart Prize. When she isn’t writing flash fiction she is reading it and more than likely eating it. She also writes creative non-fiction flash. You can follow her on Twitter: @HillaryLeftwich.

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